The district administration’s move to make the area around the Golden Temple a no-vehicle zone has hit a political hurdle, as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) senior leaders have come out in support of the agitating traders, and announced that if the barricades are not removed, party workers will uproot these.
BJP leaders including Rajya Sabha member and former city mayor Shwet Malik, former minister Laxmi Kanta Chawla and district BJP chief Rajesh Honey on Wednesday reached Katra Ahluwalia area along with traders and slammed the government for putting up barricades to stop vehicles.
BJP leaders, especially Chawla, slammed deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, while alleging “he was responsible for this move”, because of which and “today traders are having a tough time”.
After meeting the traders and ensuring them of the party’s “total support” to them, Shwet Malik said, “The BJP is not against development, but we are duty-bound to look into interests of traders and the business community. There are thousands of people who run business and have residences around the Golden Temple. How will they operate if the entire area becomes a no-traffic zone? We will not tolerate this, and the administration will have to remove the barricades put up at various places.”
Malik said the bollards and other obstructions may also lead to delays during a time of emergency.
Traders observe shutdown
Opposing the move, hundreds of traders on Wednesday observed a complete shutdown. They have been protesting ever since the administration installed barricades near Chowk Fawara. The traders, accompanied by BJP leaders, also met deputy commissioner Varun Roojam at his office on Wednesday.
A few days back, the traders had uprooted the infrastructure set up to install bollards, but later the administration went ahead with installing iron barricades. The government has taken the decision to demarcate a no-traffic zone as part of the beautification project of the road leading to the Golden Temple.
Heavy deployment of police has been made in the area to enforce the rule.